unplugged.

by sweetu313

I use my phone alarm to wake up in the morning I use my phone to play music while getting ready I use my phone to know when to my shuttle is here I use my phone to check the time when I run into a friend on South Oval on my way to class I use my phone to check my texts in class I use my phone to time my lab experiments I use my phone to see how much time I have between classes I use my phone to see where my friends are eating lunch I use my phone to Tapingo my order because the line is too long I use my phone to tell my friends to tell them I’m on my way I use my phone to get to my friend’s house I use my phone to tell my friends I’m outside waiting in the car I use my phone to take pictures with my friends I use my phone to check texts facebook twitter instagram groupme tumblr snapchat email, etc while I’m with my friends I use my phone to post the pictures with my friends I use my phone to check the notification on the pictures with my friends I use my phone to call my mom I use my phone to pretend I’m talking to my mom when I’m walking alone at night I use my phone to text my sister I use my phone for music when I’m running

I use my phone I use my phone I use my phone

 

***

 

I broke my phone November 1st.

It had been cracked and falling apart for about a month already. I had been thinking about challenging myself to go without it for a while. So I did. No phone until Thanksgiving.

Frustration.

I couldn’t communicate easily. I couldn’t check the time. I couldn’t listen to music while running. I didn’t feel safe walking to my car at night. Basically, if I was away from my laptop I had no idea what was going on and it drove me crazy. I was always worried I was going to miss important news. I also felt awkward in certain situations – like the ride on the shuttle to campus, or the few minutes before class, or when trying to avoid a social encounter.

Apathy.

After the first week and a half, I got used to it working around it. I made plans with people ahead of time and we had preset meeting places and times. I iMessaged off of my laptop and Facebook messaged everybody without iPhones. I learned to use GroupMe and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram when I happened to have my laptop. I left places before dark and if I was going to be anywhere late, I made my friends walk with me. I learned to use the clocks around campus when walking somewhere – the Clock Tower, the Union, the Stadium.

Liberation.

By the time Thanksgiving Break got closer, I began to appreciate being phone-less. I didn’t get distracted at the library and paid more attention in class. I wasn’t tempted to take a peek at my phone in meetings. I was present when I with friends. I had nothing to distract me, and it was oddly liberating. People kept asking me when I was going to get a phone and were bewildered when I would answer with “not yet” or “eventually.” They were too plugged in – how could they understand?

Awareness.

Thanksgiving rolled around and didn’t want a phone yet. I was enjoying not having one too much. Right after Thanksgiving Break came Dead Week and Finals Week. I wasn’t ready to become used to having a phone on me, and I didn’t want to do so with finals right around the corner. My mom went ahead and ordered my phone, but I decided I wouldn’t take it until finals were over. During this time, I started to notice how much other people spent on their phones. I used to use my ride on the shuttle to campus on my phone, and felt awkward without one because everybody else does the same thing. However, now I’ve become used to using that time to thinking and planning out what to do that day. One day on the shuttle this week, I realized that for the entire 8ish minutes we spend on the shuttle, some people don’t look up from their phones at all! What did I even do on my phone this entire time?! I also started to notice when people were on their phones while spending time with me. Once this week, somebody pulled out their phone in the middle of a conversation. I stopped to wait until they were done, but they urged me to proceed while they texted. It’s so incredibly distracting trying to hold a conversation while the other person can’t put down their phone. I was like this before and it’s much easier to see how detrimental this can be when you don’t have a phone to begin with.

 

***

Today, I came home from finals for winter break. My mom came home from work a few hours after I got home. She hugged me then left then room. She came back a few moments later with my new phone – I completely forgot we had ordered it. So now, as I return to the World of Cellular Devices, I won’t forget the great adventures I had and the lessons learned in the Magical Land of the Unplugged.

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